Outdoors

IKamper Mini expanding hardshell roof tent turns small car into camper

IKamper Mini expanding hardshe...
Drop the extension down, lock the ladder at proper height and pop in the awning supports
Drop the extension down, lock the ladder at proper height and pop in the awning supports
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Creating a campsite out of lonely dirt
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Creating a campsite out of lonely dirt
The new Skycamp Mini offers a smaller option for those with small vehicles or who want to conserve roof space
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The new Skycamp Mini offers a smaller option for those with small vehicles or who want to conserve roof space
The Skycamp Mini fits neatly over pickup beds down to 5 feet
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The Skycamp Mini fits neatly over pickup beds down to 5 feet
iKamper incorporates a skylight panel and side windows
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iKamper incorporates a skylight panel and side windows
The quilted panel insulates the FRP shell and now includes a map graphic
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The quilted panel insulates the FRP shell and now includes a map graphic
From Land Cruisers, down to Subarus, right down to the Mini Cooper
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From Land Cruisers, down to Subarus, right down to the Mini Cooper
The Mini drops two people and 29 inches compared to the original Skycamp
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The Mini drops two people and 29 inches compared to the original Skycamp
The Mini sleeps two with a view
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The Mini sleeps two with a view
iKamper Skycamp roof-top tent camping in Canada's Jasper National Park
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iKamper Skycamp roof-top tent camping in Canada's Jasper National Park
Changing seasons, reliable shelter
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Changing seasons, reliable shelter
Enjoying Northern Canada's aurora borealis
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Enjoying Northern Canada's aurora borealis
The new Skycamp Mini creates a nice, clean Tacoma adventure rig, leaving the full roof rack available for storage
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The new Skycamp Mini creates a nice, clean Tacoma adventure rig, leaving the full roof rack available for storage
Mini camping on the Mini Cooper
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Mini camping on the Mini Cooper
iKamper's "1 minute" set-up starts by unlocking and popping open the latches before pushing the hardshell cover up
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iKamper's "1 minute" set-up starts by unlocking and popping open the latches before pushing the hardshell cover up
Pull the extension out with the ladder
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Pull the extension out with the ladder
Drop the extension down, lock the ladder at proper height and pop in the awning supports
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Drop the extension down, lock the ladder at proper height and pop in the awning supports
Reverse the process in the morning, pulling the cover back down by the integrated straps
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Reverse the process in the morning, pulling the cover back down by the integrated straps
A Mini/Mini adventure mobile
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A Mini/Mini adventure mobile
Sitting up in the two-person iKamper Skycamp Mini
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Sitting up in the two-person iKamper Skycamp Mini
Lounging the night away
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Lounging the night away
Potential buyers should always check their vehicle roof rating to ensure that it will support a given roof-top tent
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Potential buyers should always check their vehicle roof rating to ensure that it will support a given roof-top tent
Inside the iKamper Skycamp Mini
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Inside the iKamper Skycamp Mini
We loved the original three/four-person Skycamp, but it does have a way of eating roof space
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We loved the original three/four-person Skycamp, but it does have a way of eating roof space

IKamper has had a busy few years. After arriving on the scene with the innovative slide-out Hardtop One, it reworked the idea of an expandable hardshell roof-top tent (RTT), set Kickstarter on fire with a $2 million Skycamp campaign, became an established brand name in the overlanding and camping scenes, and now offers its products in countries around the globe. Following another innovative four-sleeper tent, iKamper is hitting the market once again, this time with a space-saving two-sleeper RTT that leaves room on the roof for Pelican boxes, traction aids and tools. And there's no need for crowd funding this time around.

We had the opportunity to take the original Skycamp out on a weekend camping trip just outside Bryce Canyon National Park and walked away quite impressed with the materials, ease of use and overall design. We weren't quite expecting the tent to be quite as large as it is, though, as it stretches just about the full roof length and width of a mid-size SUV. And here she is to prove it:

We loved the original three/four-person Skycamp, but it does have a way of eating roof space
We loved the original three/four-person Skycamp, but it does have a way of eating roof space

A little extra size doesn't outweigh the Skycamp's positives, given it sleeps a family of four, deploys and packs away with minimal effort, and has a sturdy, hassle-free hardshell case. But it's not for everyone. Overlanding and camping involve tons of equipment with limited vehicle space to pack it all, and some people need roof space to handle the overflow.

The new Skycamp Mini creates a nice, clean Tacoma adventure rig, leaving the full roof rack available for storage
The new Skycamp Mini creates a nice, clean Tacoma adventure rig, leaving the full roof rack available for storage

The new Skycamp Mini bolts to the cross bars as a 57-in (145-cm)-long, near-square box that fits comfortably over a 5-foot (1.5-m) pickup bed. With a length of nearly 86 inches (218 cm), the original Skycamp would be hanging off the end of a short-bed pickup, stretching over top the roof or a little of both, while the Mini fits like a glove. Alternatively, it can mount over the cab and leave the bed open. The smaller sizing also makes it a viable choice for those rolling the streets in one of the new small SUVs that have been popping up like prairie dogs ... or even a Mini Cooper.

The Mini drops two people and 29 inches compared to the original Skycamp
The Mini drops two people and 29 inches compared to the original Skycamp

The Skycamp Mini is a two-sleeper rather than a four-sleeper like the original Skycamp, but it features the same fold-out design and one-minute setup. During driving, the honeycomb aluminum extension platform is neatly folded away below the fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) hard cover. Extending the platform is as simple as grabbing the attached ladder and pulling it up and out, adding more floor space to stretch the east-west width out to 80 inches (203 cm).

Pull the extension out with the ladder
Pull the extension out with the ladder

Inside, the Mini has the same breathable poly-cotton canvas walls and quilted panel as the original Skycamp. A new touch since we last looked at the Skycamp: the quilting now includes a world map graphic, helping inspire sweet dreams of explorations yet to come.

The 125-lb (57-kg) Skycamp Mini is available for reservation now, with no payment required until late February, just before the March 2 start of deliveries. Price is set at US$3,499.

Source: iKamper

2 comments
Tim
It's a shame that the factory roof racks for many minis are rated at 75kg combined then. Unless the two of you weigh less than 9kg each... I took the roof liner out of mine and sikaflexed in four rolled 150x150x6mm aluminium plate (also wedged into the inside of the roof gutter recess) so the racks would have something substantial to push down on. A few marine grade stainless nutserts per plate and voila! Success! I can jump up and down on the roof basket now.
Holger
@Tim: We've loaded our roof racks on on two cars (Honda CRV, Toyota Prius C) way beyond their ratings while the vehicle was not moving - with no ill effects. Extra weight up top affects the handling of small vehicles - which might be part of the max load ratings. Pretty cool how you upgraded your roof though!